Throughout lockdown, Nick Palmer found himself yearning for something to do, stuck in a time reminiscent of a school holiday, where you feel you have all the time in the world, but as an adult who understood all the happenings of the current world. His whole world came to a stop and the everyday normalities were not able to be carried out. With this free time, Palmer yearned to find a way to channel his emotions and re-engage with optimism through finding colour in what felt like a seemingly bleak time and began creating his namesake brand, N Palmer’s debut collection.
Repurposing is extremely important to the brand having been present in previous works. For Collection 1, Palmer had been ruminating on patchwork, its purpose, and its history. The importance of fabric waste, and how much material we waste, began the culmination of ideas for his collection. Present in the collection are shirts and tops made of repurposed vintage scarves from the 1970’s and bias striped tops made from cut-up vintage dresses and dead-stock fabric from the decade. As a result of national lockdown restrictions, Palmer had to try much harder to source materials to create his collection. The inability to visit physical stores meant he had to take his keen eye to sites such as eBay and vintage wholesale suppliers, where he was able to source materials.
A key motif featured this season is the owl; an ever present part of the 70’s cultural zeitgeist, something which Palmer himself finds truly perplexing “why were people so obsessed with owls? There is no explanation and I’ve dug deep to find one”. Images taken by Meryl Meiser embody a freeness of the subjects in them and music such as Kermit the Frogs ‘Rainbow Connection’ and Nina Simone’s ‘Here comes the Sun’ embody optimism, positive emotions and power. Such positivity can be seen heavily throughout the collection in the bold prints and patterns featured.
AW21 sees Palmer’s first foray into cut and sew knitwear, with patchwork sweater vests. Shirts are created using a cut and sew technique with vintage sheets and upcycled shirts turned into psychedelic patchwork. Vintage materials have been deconstructed and rebuilt into bias stripes and patterns. The collection started with the development of textiles and patchwork design, because of these intricacies the form and cut of each piece is kept clean and refined.
A patchwork image of a house is another motif visible within the collection. The idea of home and reliving memories was important to Palmer throughout the design process. Experiencing the last year, over 3,000 miles away from his family in Indiana. Palmer found himself referring to imagery and memories that were reminiscent of his home town as well as other significant places he has lived i.e. New York City and London.
Palmer’s design philosophy this season was directly influenced by the lack of structure in life following the national lockdown, this absence of formation is cured through the patch-worked patterns featured in his designs, which adds structure to the garments and vintage materials used.
Due to the nature of using offcuts and repurposed materials, each item in the collection is entirely unique. Featuring four different patchwork patterns, each piece forces us to look at its history and future. Made to be worn past the season, Palmer wants consumers to ask themselves these questions: Where have these fabrics been and where are they going?
Creative Direction: Nicholas Palmer Photography: Balint Barna Model: Odira Morwabone MUA: Jenny Green Hair: Toni&Guy